It happened in the past. What tense do I use?

I know that all of us have hard times talking about the past. I mean the moments when you have to choose between the Past Simple, the Past Continuous, the Past Perfect and so on. Which one do you use?
This article will help you to learn making the choice. You will still make some mistakes, but less of them.
Here is a site where you can practice using past tenses. Click it and you`ll see it. In fact, it is an article with a practice section below it, and, of course, it is a British site.

Also, here is a chart on different tenses to help you understand them through comparison:


13 July 2014


Present Perfect – наконец то ты попался.

Годами я пытался понять тебя. Ещё в институте мне вбили в голову “если Present Perfect – то есть действие в прошлом и есть результат сейчас”. И вот, объясняю на уроке – “Презент Пёфэкт легко понять. Вот пример, кстати, его мне подсказал мой бывший ученик, 58 летний инженер Александр Николаевич. Представь, что у тебя сейчас урок. Ты сидишь за партой, учительница говорит “А сейчас – контрольная”. А ты говоришь “Я забыл ручку”. А тебе “Петечкин – 2”. Так вот – ручку ты забыл в прошлом, а результат сейчас. Два!

I have forgotten my pen, sorry…

– Bad boy! Bad mark!”.

И тут, в солнечное сплетение, под дых, внезапно, вопрос от ученика “А этот результат уже закончился или ещё продолжается?”.

Тут я ушёл в нокаут на 10 секунд и проиграл бой.


Сегодня смотрел видео британца Алекса iswearenglish. И увидел комментарий к нему от жителя Саудовской Аравии:

“to keep us learning from you, even you said a joke

Did you say ” if you’ve Enjoyed it ” OR ” if you enjoyed it” ?

and why?”.

Помогающий Алекс на пальцах объяснил:

“If you have enjoyed then give it a rating … If plus present perfect then imperative (present) … a mixed past condition and present effect … zero conditional (because it is general not specific) … present perfect for time up to now …. present perfect for present effects.

If you enjoyed then … If plus past simple then imperative (present) … mixed past condition and present effect … zero conditional … past simple because the video is finished”.

Вот он, этот eye-opener – хотя eyes открываются именно от комментариев.

Американец говорит, что Present Perfect – это время “the time starts from the past and brings us up to the present. So this is a period of time and you are here at a palce now”. Объяснение по теме: 4:20.


До какого времени происходит Present Perfect
До какого времени происходит Present Perfect

UPD (13 june 2014): I`ve just found some additional information which proves that in some cases the Present Perfect still continues in the present:
Present perfect tense for continuing situation

We often use the present perfect tense to talk about a continuing situation. This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future). This is a state (not an action). We usually use for or since with this structure.

We usually use for or since with this structure.

I have worked here since June.
He has been ill for 2 days.
How long have you known Tara?
past present future

The situation started in the past. It continues up to now. (It will probably continue into the future.)